Many California parents understand that raising their children can be an expensive endeavor, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating that the cost for a single child can be nearly $250,000 from birth to adulthood. The expenses can be especially difficult to afford for single parents. As a result, many non-custodial parents are ordered to pay child support as part of a divorce order.
A report prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that in 2013, only 45.7 percent of the 5.7 million custodial parents received all of the child support they were owed. Overall, 68.5 percent of the total amount of child support that was owed in 2013 was actually received. However, about 61 percent of custodial parents were receiving support in the form of gifts, food and items needed to raise the children. This included diapers and clothing.
The report also showed the portion of income child support represented. In general, the child support payments made up between about 8 percent to 18 percent of the family’s personal income. For low income custodial-parent families who received all of the support that they were owed, the child support payments made up about 70 percent of their average personal income.
Child support payments in many states are calculated using a child support formula that takes the income, debt and personal expenses of both parents into account. If the non-custodial parent has a higher income, they may be responsible for paying more in child support than non-custodial parents who make less than the custodial parent. For those who are in the process of negotiating their child support orders, a family law attorney may assist them with gathering their financial records so the payments can be properly and fairly calculated.